Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution
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Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution

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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  835 ratings  ·  194 reviews
Lives hang in the balance in this gripping Revolutionary War adventure from a beloved Newbery Medalist.

In 1776, young Sophia Calderwood witnesses the execution of Nathan Hale in New York City, which is newly occupied by the British army. Sophia is horrified by the event and resolves to do all she can to help the American cause. Recruited as a spy, she becomes a maid in the...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Beach Lane Books
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YA Historical Fiction 2012
63rd out of 115 books — 637 voters
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Newbery 2013
86th out of 119 books — 1,060 voters


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Community Reviews

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Barbara
Twelve-year-old Sophia Calderwood is a Patriot in 1776, and the family's New York City home becomes the dwelling place of John Andre, a British officer, the first of many to stay there during the British occupation of the city. Against her will, Sophia develops a crush on Andre and becomes increasingly drawn to him--until he refuses her request to help her brother who is a prisoner of war. She vows vengeance on the man after her brother dies. Eventually, Sophia gets her chance to get back at And...more
Kathleen
This was a pretty quick read, both because of the vocabulary and the quickness with which the action started. It should be a good choice to recommend to 4th-7th graders learning about the American Revolution, especially girls! I found it to be very enjoyable, and until I read this, Toliver's Secret was my favorite to recommend, because it's about a girl taking action and making a real difference, not just standing by and waiting for the men to come home. Now, SOPHIA'S WAR will make it a pair. Th...more
JoLene
This is the story of Sophia, a young colonial girl who witnesses Nathan Hale is he about to be hung for treason. This events marks the beginning of Sophia's transformation into a patriot. Sophia is spurred into action when her older brother, who fought in the battle of Brooklyn ends up on a prison ship and she tries to visit only to learn that he had died.

Sophia is a plucky little heroine and her actions had a major impact on the war. I do not know a lot about the revolutionary war, but unfortun...more
Barb
This was one of the best historical fiction books I've read in a long time, especially the second half of it! Obviously well researched -- right down to having a glossary of 18th century terms and Avi's note explaining which parts are true and which fiction. VERY exciting telling of an important time in our history! (It's 5th grade AR level.)
Diane
As the war begins, Sophia Calderwood's family is in turmoil: her brother, serving in the army, is missing. Her father has been injured and they are forced to take in a British officer, John Andre. She is drawn to Andre, though he is the enemy. Being the only child left, Sophia must find gainful employment to help her family. She is soon taken in as a servant to the supreme commander of British forces. A position that could be very advantageous to someone who can listen and not be noticed. Soon,...more
Kristin
A slow starter that gradually grows into a thrilling tale of espionage set during the American Revolution! This book has classic children's literature written all over it in the vein of stories like My Brother Sam Is Dead, The Witch of Blackbird Pond and Johnny Tremain. Avi mixes hefty amounts of period vocabulary and language with real historical figures to successful effect. Sophia Calderwood becomes a spy in the home of British General Clinton in hopes of avenging her brother's death at the o...more
Alex Baugh
Avi has always been a favorite in our house and his latest book, Sophia's War, is another addition to his oeuvre of historical fiction that doesn't fail to satisfy. This time Avi takes the reader back to the American Revolution.

For 12 year old Sophia Calderwood, the revolutionary war is personal. Forced to flee with her mother and father when the British attack and seize lower Manhattan, on her return, Sophia and her mother witness, first, the hanging of Nathan Hale by the British for being a s...more
Robert
In 1776 the Thirteen Colonies had been at war with The British Empire for almost a year. During that time the Americans and the British had sustained gains and losses. Some were more significant than others. Clearly, the American troops were at odds with the most formidable army and navy in the world at that time. The British war machine was well trained, well equipped, and well run. The American troops were a rag-tag collection of militias spread out across the various colonies with varying deg...more
Megan
We have this marked as a 'middle reader' at Skylight, which we describe as literature for those roughly 8-12 years old. And Avi writes smart, complex books for that age range. He creates heroines who face challenging situations, and whose own motives are often more nuanced and less straightforward than in much children's literature. Sophia's War is a perfect example of that. Her internal emotional battle is balanced not only with a suspenseful plot but also with a really rich portrait of revolut...more
Amy
listened to the audio book. Heidi LOVED it. Joe listened in a few times and got hooked. The Littles were happy enough to be close by though there were a few things I winced at. (hangings and a word or two of language-not over the top language, but not for a little-if I'd been reading i would have easily edited. I honestly don't remember the word(s). . Maybe Lords name in vain? I need to review right after reading or I forget details like that! I just remember wincing a few times but no problems...more
Jo Ann
Fictional character Sophia Calderwood's journey through the terrifying times of the Revolutionary War is so interesting. I read this book to be able to discuss with my granddaughter, who's writing a book report on this book, and again, I learned - or re-learned - a lot of what I'd missed about Benedict Arnold, Jon Andre, General Clinton, etc. in history classes. Great book!
Melinda
I have yet to find an Avi novel that I have not enjoyed, and this one is no exception. I prefer historical fiction and this story of young Sophia Calderwood incorporates the essential mix of fact and invention. For a twelve-year-old girl, Sophia portrays great courage and maturity, as she is placed in often treacherous situations. When her father is injured and is no longer able to work as before, Sophia willingly picks up the slack and becomes the family's primary wage earner. She equally puts...more
Amy
Hmmmmm... This is a tough one. I wish I could give half stars because this book wasn't quite a 4, but it wasn't quite a 3 either. I'm going to slightly spoil the ending so proceed at your own risk (although if you've ever heard of the American Revolutionary War or Benedict Arnold then it isn't much of a spoiler!).

I enjoyed the second half A LOT more than the first. The first half was necessary to give the background, but I found Sophia to be an unsympathetic character & actually kind of anno...more
Donna F.
It is a very solid book. Reads well and I can see mass appeal for it. I absolutely prefer it to The Fifth of March by Rinaldi. I thought that Sophia's conflicted feelings towards Andre made her a more likable character. Her journey is a little unbelievable but hey it is historical fiction. Disappointed in the ending. Although it is historical fiction, why would the story end with Sophia in English putting that special ribbon on Andre's grave? It is not at all plausible for her character to have...more
Annie Oosterwyk
Wow, I usually love Avi but this story had me reading as fast as I could to see if I could get to the good part or just get it over with.
This story was a total melodrama with a girl who behaved out of character for a girl of her times- earning her keep as a printer's apprentice and Revolutionary spy, but unlike Charlotte Doyle, went all melty over the British spy who refused to save her brother from the prison ship where he died. Her inconsistent behavior carried throughout all her relationship...more
Books Kids Like
Sophia's brother, William, taught her about patriotism and the cause of liberty before he left to join General Washington's army. After the British seize lower Manhattan, Sophia must bridle her tongue and hide her allegiances. She watches Nathan Hale's hanging and witnesses the despicable inhumanity of the British prison ships when she tries to ease her brother's plight. In opposition to her hatred for the British is her infatuation for John Andres, a British officer billeted in her parent's hom...more
Qnpoohbear
Sophia's family has always lived in New York City, what seems to be the center of life in the American colonies. Her brother taught her to read and they have enjoyed reading and discussing many books together. William caught revolutionary fervor while reading Thomas Paine's Common Sense and passed that feeling on to Sophia. Now, 1776, William has gone to be a soldier and the rest of the Calderwoods have fled New York in the wake of battle. Sophia and her mother return to the city to learn about...more
Josiah
"I have learned that heart and eyes are one. That's to say, one can see a thing, but when one is linked to it, the seeing is different."

―Sophia Calderwood, Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution, P. 24

The crux of this book, I believe, can be found in Sophia's assessment of the current state of the American Revolution at one point in the story, when the war led by General George Washington remains in flux, the outcome of the revolt against King George III still wholly undecided: "Thus, in 1780...more
Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: SOPHIA’S WAR: A TALE OF THE REVOLUTION by Avi, Beach Lane, September 2012, 320p., ISBN: 978-1-4424-1441-9

“Let me be fourthright: I was perfectly aware that a war was going on. I considered myself an ardent patriot. Yet, I must confess, I began to think of my brother, William, as a problem. What if he – about whom John André knew nothing – suddenly appeared? How would the lieutenant deal with a rebel soldier in our midst? How would I deal with it? Would William attack André? These...more
Lisa
I enjoy Avi's work and his historical fiction is well-documented. When I read the synopsis of this book I was very interested. It so nicely supports my school's 5th grade Social Studies curriculum I knew this was a good topic.

Personally I found the book interesting, but throughout my reading I kept asking myself "Which students in my school would read this book?" I can only think of a couple, and that makes me sad. Now, I'm trying to think of ways to sell my students on this very well-written bo...more
Ms. Yingling
Sophia and her family live in New York City, and are struggling not only with the British, but with the direction their own sympathies are taking. They end up with John Andre being billeted in their house at the same time Sophia's brother William, a strong Patriot, is held by the British in prison. When William dies, any fond feelings the family has for the British die as well, but they must keep their opinions secret. When Sophia's father is injured and unable to work, she presents herself at t...more
AlixJamie
As seen through the eyes of Sophia Calderwood, Avi unfolds a simply-written, clearly-presented, meticulously-detailed glimpse into the betrayal of Benedict Arnold as aided and abetted by British officer John Andre. The historical facts are genuine - down to the letters written between the two men, the amount of money paid by Andre to the boy who gave him directions and the minute details that brought about the Andre/Arnold meeting - and straightforward. Sophia, as the main character, doesn't clu...more
Mara
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Divided. On the one hand, I love how indicative of the sort of story it is, and I like the silhouettes. But it also doesn’t do a whole lot for me, it’s so plain.

Characters: While Sophia may at first come across as an indecisive protagonist, she quickly solidifies herself as a strong, intelligent character who puts her angry and confused energy to good use, rather than sitting around and wringing her hands over what she should do. She is not the most complicated or relatab...more
Margo Tanenbaum
The versatile Avi, who won a Newbery years back for his historical novel Crispin: The Cross of Lead, pens a real historical thriller in his latest novel, Sophia's War, set during the American Revolution. This is definitely my favorite Avi novel since The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Like that celebrated adventure/historical nove, Sophia's War features an indomitable young heroine, who thrusts herself in the center of political and military intrigue during one of the most famous betrayals...more
Nicole
Beach Lane Books, 2012
Historical Fiction
320 pages
Recommended for grades 5-8

I'm a big Avi fan, and I always delve into his books with very high hopes. This tale focuses on a young, fictional girl, Sophia Calderwood, finding her way during the Revolutionary War. Her family is doing their part to feign loyalty to the king, while secretly their son is fighting in the rebel army. When the Calderwood's must house a charming British soldier, Sophia finds herself taken with him. We follow Sophia through...more
imagineb4logic
Avi has done it again. He renewed my interests in books again.
It's been a while since I was feverishly reading books. Life got so busy to me, that I hadn't read a full book in weeks--and months. (well, there was the Christmas Carol, but that one was required in school T_T) I blame mostly on homework, but with this book, I am thankful.
Sophia is this girl so similar to Charlotte Doyle, another character of Avi's. But this time, our heroine is a spy--an occupation very frowned upon during that time...more
Judy Desetti
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angie
I quite enjoyed this one ... even more so, I think, for having recently finished Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy and while it was a lot longer ago The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery also.

Sophia is a very likable and believable main character, even though she is the fictional part of this historical fiction ... we know there were brave girls just like her.

Anyway. If I worked in a middle school I would definitely get it for our collection...more
Jaime Leroy
It is 1776 and twelve year old Sophia, lives in British-occupied Manhattan. Even though her brother is a member of the rebel army, but her family is forced to house British troops. Even with her hate of the British, she finds herself liking one of the soldiers that is staying with them, John Andre. Her feelings for him are put to the test when her brother is captured by the enemy and Andre refuses to help him. When her brother is killed while in prison, Sophia vows revenge and a few years later...more
Nayla Mamlouk
New York, 1776 America was under the control of the Brits. Sophia Calderwood and her family live in a small town house in New York. Sophia is a bright young girl who can read and write (which was very rare back then). Sophia’s brother enrolled in the army and unfortunately passed away after being taking as a prisoner by the enemy. The young girl was furious. One day a man came upon her and offered her a job, as a spy. She accepted, and a day later she found herself at the Kennedy’s house where s...more
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Avi is a pen name for Edward Irving Wortis, but he says, "The fact is, Avi is the only name I use."
Born in 1937, Avi has created many fictional favorites such as The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, and The Crispin series. His work is very much desired by readers young and old.
More about Avi...
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Crispin #1) Nothing But the Truth Poppy (Tales of Dimwood Forest, #1) The Seer of Shadows

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“Yes, it is hard to discover a truth. But it is much harder to be unable to do anything about it. It's as if you know for certain a building will collapse and not one soul―not even those within―will listen to your warning. Hearing truth makes many deaf.” 1 likes
“Like Indian corn in August, the "what ifs" in my life were growing fast. Too fast.” 1 likes
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